Nextel Launches Celebrity Campaign

Nextel, for the first time ever, has decided to try their luck at the ever-popular genre of celebrity campaigns. The campaign, which includes TV, print, radio and outdoor elements, launched during the Jets vs. Oakland game yesterday and featured NPYD Blue actor Dennis Franz. Bluesman BB King and pro golfer John Daly will be used in the print and radio.

"Prior to this campaign we hadn't delved into the celebrity aspect," says Jim Hagar, group creative director at Mullen, the Interpublic agency that handled the campaign, and has worked with Nextel since 1996. "In the past, we'd done product attribute spots that always maintain a tone, but we wanted to get to a higher profile with this campaign. We'll utilize Dennis Franz in a way that is different from any other telecom advertising."

TV ads will run on CBS football and NCAA basketball, the NHL on ABC and other sports programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. Sports program are being used to get at their target demographic-businessmen.

"Sports is high impact, high visibility that fits in with their attitude," Hagar says. "The main demographic watches sports.

Nextel has also sponsored a racecar in the Cart Series, the All Star games for baseball and hockey and local sports teams as well. "Sports is a big part of what they're all about," Hagar says.

The print campaign starts with full-page ads in USA Today and The Wall St. Journal and will appear in other local papers. Radio will run on local stations. The campaign will run in papers and stations in 92 markets.

Mullen does the media planning and uses Initiative Media for the buying. Regional marketing directors for Nextel determine what kind of ads to run in each market.

The Q1 budget for the Nextel campaign is $30 million.

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